- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Conservative leaders on Wednesday embraced president-elect Donald Trump and claimed some credit for helping craft his victory, saying that focusing on the Supreme Court and abortion helped rally the GOP to his cause.

Despite his two divorces, previous support for abortion and a history of offensive comments, Mr. Trump won over a majority of evangelical Christians and social conservative voters by tapping Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, while pledging to fill Supreme Court vacancies with pro-life nominees, eliminate taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and sign a bill ending abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“The pro-life movement is in the strongest position that it has been in over 40 years” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which helped mobilize pro-life voters in key battleground states. “We are poised to make the biggest legislative advances for the protection of unborn children since Roe v. Wade.”

Ms. Dannenfelser, a onetime Trump critic who went on to chair the campaign’s Pro-Life Coalition, said Mr. Trump has “committed to every single one of these goals.”

“Now the hard work begins of making these opportunities for unborn children and their mothers a reality,” she said.

Few pro-life advocates could have anticipated this electoral outcome just a few months ago, when Mr. Trump appeared to be struggling to win over conservatives after a bruising Republican primary race.

But due to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s uncompromising support for abortion rights, pro-life voters were among the first traditionally Republican constituents to back Mr. Trump.

Now the unlikely marriage between the pro-life movement and Mr. Trump gives pro-life advocates the chance to implement policy unimpeded by a Democratic Party increasingly antithetical to those who question the morality of abortion.

But there will be no honeymoon. Pro-life leaders did not mince words about what they expect from the billionaire businessman in return for their loyalty.

“Donald Trump made many promises to pro-lifers over the course of his campaign, and the pro-life generation will make sure he keeps those promises as president,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life in America.

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the abortion provider would redouble its efforts in the wake of Mr. Trump’s victory.

“Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years, and one thing is clear: We will never back down and we will never stop fighting to ensure that Planned Parenthood patients have access to the care they need, people who come from communities that need our continued support in this new reality — immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ community, people of faith, and more,” Ms. Richards said in a statement.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said Mr. Trump could usher in a new era in American politics.

“I believe if the Republicans led by Donald Trump follow through on their commitments, we are on the cusp of a conservative generation,” Mr. Perkins said.

Mr. Trump emerged as the unlikely hero of grass-roots conservative activists that have been fed up with Washington and felt that Democrats and the GOP establishment had abandoned them by overseeing an expansion of government and failing to follow through on campaign promises.

Exit polls found he won over 8 in 10 voters who identified as white evangelical or born-again Christians and that he benefited from becoming the first candidate to issue a list of possible conservative nominees to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court, including the one left by the death of Antonin Scalia.

Mr. Trump won the support of nearly 6 in 10 voters that said Supreme Court appointments were the most important factor in the race.

Republicans last controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House in 2006, but lost control of the Senate thanks in part to the frustration conservatives had with President George W. Bush, who oversaw a dramatic expansion of government.

Richard Viguere, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, said Mr. Trump’s win represented a repudiation of the Bush and Obama years, and said it is time for GOP leaders on Capitol Hill to get aboard the Trump train or get out of the way.

“President Obama said his policies were on the ballot yesterday, and the American people said they want to repeal those policies, his legacy and his agenda,” Mr. Viguerie said. “The Bush wing of the Republican Party is dead,” he continued. “It was buried yesterday by the American people.”

L. Brent Bozell III, founder the Media Research Center, said the result was an indictment of the pro-Clinton mainstream media, which he accused of peddling left-wing propaganda. And he sounded giddy about the prospects of Mr. Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress advancing an “entire alphabet soup” of conservative priorities starting on Day One.

“There is no reason why they can’t get everything the Republican Party and every elected member of the Republican Party has pledged to do to cut taxes, to cut spending, to get rid of Obamacare, to get rid of executive amnesty, to zero out Planned Parenthood,” Mr. Bozell said. “They have all promised this, so they have no excuse.”

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